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Eurocrats protect our oysters and beer

Whitstable oysters and Shepherd Neame have been given a special European Union seal to signify their authentic Kentish origins.

The Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) will help shoppers to distinguish genuine local products from those farmed elsewhere.

Graham West, 47, runs West Whelks in the harbour and his family has been involved in farming oysters for 140 years.

He said: “Getting this seal of authenticity is more important than ever now, because there are not that many proper Whitstable oysters left.

“Many of the oysters sold in Whitstable these days are Irish or Scottish so defining the proper Whitstable oyster with this European seal is a plus.”

Shepherd Neame will be able to use the seal on bottled versions ofBishop’s Finger, 1698 and the famous Spitfire.

David Holmes, the chief brewer, said: “It’s very important to us that we use locally-sourced malt, barley and hops to give our beers their unique flavour and qualities.

“It makes it dry on the palate and very malty.”

Shepherd Neame uses water from its own well, while 30 per cent of the malt and barley, and 98 per cent of the hops, come from Kent.

They join the oysters, Stilton cheese, Scotch beef and Welsh lamb in winning the seal of authenticity.

For more news from Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay and Faversham visit www.kentishgazette.co.uk>>>

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